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15 Clever Recipe Ideas for Canned Pumpkin

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Autumn is synonymous with falling leaves, back to school and pumpkin flavored everything!  From late September right through the holidays we have a myriad of choices featuring pumpkin. But this versatile pantry staple deserves year round attention not just for its creamy flavor but for the nutritional boost it provides. 

Canned pumpkin (not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling) is a superfood, chockfull of anti-oxidants that give this fruit its colorful orange hue.  It is loaded with immune boosting nutrients like potassium, zinc, folate, manganese, as well as vitamins A, C, E, and B6.  It’s a good source of fiber and its low in calories; with only 49 calories per cup.  If you don’t use the whole can at once, you can pour the leftover pumpkin puree into an ice cube tray and freeze it, placing the frozen cubes in a freezer bag for another recipe.

So instead of relying on the usual suspects that turn up only once a year, try some of the following easy recipe ideas to boost the flavor and nutrient profile of your food all year long:

  1. Make Pumpkin “Nice”cream. Combine two frozen bananas, ½  cup pumpkin puree, 2 tablespoons maple syrup and 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice to a blender or food processor.  Blend ingredients until well combined.  Place in a freezer safe container and freeze until mixture is solid.  
  2. Use an equal amount of pumpkin as a substitute for applesauce when baking for a more nutritious alternative to lower the fat content
  3. Mix two tablespoons each of canned pumpkin and peanut butter, add a few teaspoons of low-sodium soy sauce for a quick peanut noodle sauce that you can toss with roasted vegetables, spiralized vegetables, cauliflower rice, and noodles.
  4. Mix together ¼ cup of pumpkin with ¼ cup of low fat cream cheese to use as a dip for veggies or to spread on toast or bagels.
  5. Make a pasta sauce. Mix equal parts of ricotta cheese and pumpkin, add a pinch of salt and pepper, top it on your favorite cooked pasta
  6. Mix 2 Tablespoons of pumpkin to your oatmeal and add raisins and cinnamon to spice things up
  7. Make pumpkin pudding. Combine 1 can of pumpkin puree, a pinch of salt, and 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.  Slowly add 1 ½ cups milk until combined.  Add one 3.4 oz. package of instant vanilla pudding mix; stir until thickened.  Refrigerate until set.
  8. Add ¼ cup of pumpkin to plain Greek yogurt and add a pinch of pumpkin pie spice, makes a great dip for fruit
  9. Add ¼ cup of pumpkin to your morning smoothie, it pairs perfectly with vanilla yogurt and cinnamon
  10. Make pumpkin butter for toast, or to top oatmeal or yogurt. Place 1 cup of pumpkin puree in a saucepan with ½ cup of brown sugar and ½ cup of water. Add seasoning of your choice, think: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger or simply use pumpkin pie spice.  Bring mixture to a boil and then turn down heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Refrigerate in a container when mixture has cooled. 
  11. Add 1 cup of canned pumpkin to your favorite chili recipe for added nutritional value
  12. Add a nutritional boost to grilled cheese. Spread a few tablespoons of canned pumpkin onto sliced bread, top with your favorite cheese and then cook on stovetop in a pan coated with cooking spray or toast it in a toaster oven.
  13. Move over mashed potatoes….swap pumpkin for potatoes. Put 1 cup of canned pumpkin in a small saucepan along with a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese and 2 teaspoons of butter. Cook over low heat for a few minutes and then serve.
  14. Make lower carb mashed potatoes with pumpkin. For every pound of potatoes used to make mashed potatoes, add 1 cup of canned pumpkin to the recipe.
  15. Pumpkin pancakes. Add ½ cup canned pumpkin to your pancake batter along with a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg for more fall flavor

Content submitted by Janyce Gately MS, RD, LDN, HC